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Brittney Griner Faces Drug Smuggling Allegations in Russia

Brittney Griner is accused of bringing drugs in Russia


Brittney Griner, who has won two gold medals in basketball at the Olympics for the United States, went on trial for drug smuggling near Moscow on Friday. If convicted, she could spend up to 10 years in prison.

"Brittney Griner Faces Drug Smuggling Allegations in Russia"
Sky Sports: Brittney Griner Faces Drug Smuggling Allegations in Russia

The great player, who plays for the Phoenix Mercury and is 31 years old, was arrested at a Moscow airport on February 17, a week before Russia invaded Ukraine.

Griner’s supporters and US officials say she is being held illegally and have asked for her release. They are worried that she is being used as a political pawn as tensions between Russia and the US rise.

Prosecutor’s statement about Griner’s allegation:

At the trial, a prosecutor said that Griner had sneaked less than a gram of cannabis oil into the country in her luggage.


“Griner knew that it was illegal to move drugs, so he bought two cartridges for personal use containing 0.252 grams and 0.45 grams of hash oil, for a total of 0.702 grams, from an unidentified person at an unspecified location on or before February 17, 2022,” the prosecutor told a TASS reporter in the hall of the Khimki City Court.

According to TASS, the prosecution says that Griner put the illegal drugs in a backpack and a suitcase with the intention of bringing them into Russia. Cannabis oil is a controlled substance and a narcotic drug in Russia.


On July 7, the second court hearing will take place.

Some people have thought that Griner could be freed in a prisoner swap, but US Secretary of State Antony Blinken wouldn’t say anything about it over the weekend.

Griner’s lawyer’s statement:

Alexander Boykov and Maria Blagovolina, two of Griner’s lawyers, said on Friday that they did not know of any plans to trade Griner for a Russian prisoner being held in the US.

During an unplanned press conference, the lawyers said, “We don’t know anything about it.”

The lawyers said that one of the two witnesses at the hearing was a customs worker from the Sheremetyevo airport. The lawyers said that he was questioned about the player’s arrest and personal search, but they couldn’t share any of the information he told them during the testimony.

When Griner’s lawyers were asked why she wouldn’t talk about the charges in court, they said, “She has the right to do so later.”

US Embassy Charge d’Affairs Elizabeth Rood, who was at Friday’s hearing, said again that player had been “wrongfully detained.” She also said that “wrongful detention is unacceptable wherever it happens and is a threat to the safety of everyone traveling, working, and living abroad.”

She talked with Griner in court. Rood said, “She is doing as well as can be expected given the circumstances, and she asked me to tell you that she is in good spirits and keeping the faith.”

“The highest levels of the US government are working hard to get Brittney and all other wrongfully detained US citizens back home,” she said.

A groundswell of public backing in the United States has been stoked in response to Griner’s continued detention, which has been repeatedly prolonged. Together with the player’s wife, Cherelle, dozens of organizations have petitioned President Joe Biden to negotiate with Russian authorities to secure Griner’s release from prison and return to the United States in a secure manner as quickly as possible.

CNN on Thursday:

In an interview with CNN on Thursday, Cherelle Griner pleaded with US officials to do more to free her wife.

“It’s extremely, extremely hard. “This is not a case where the words and actions match up,” she said. “Unfortunately, I have to push people to make sure that what they say to me matches what they do. This is the hardest thing to get right because I can’t let up. It’s been more than 130 days and BG still hasn’t come back.

During a conference call with reporters on Friday, Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for the Kremlin, said that the case has nothing to do with politics.

Peskov said that the Kremlin can’t say anything about how the trial is going, but he stressed that Griner was arrested for carrying “illegal drugs with narcotic substances,” which is against the law in Russia.

“From what I’ve said, it’s clear that her arrest has nothing to do with politics,” Peskov said.

The previous week, Griner was presented with an honorary starting position for the WNBA All-Star Game. The game is scheduled to take place in Chicago on the 10th of July. Before Monday’s game against the Indiana Fever, the head coach of the Phoenix Mercury, Vanessa Nygaard, spoke to the media and assured them that her detention continues to be “tough on our players.”

She expressed her wish that Griner would return home soon and expressed confidence that President Biden will “do whatever it takes to see that this happens.”

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